Apparitions of High Tide

Lisa Favicchia

Watch for the holes. Children often bury

dead jellyfish and sea nettles, empty hotel

bottles of Fireball. Clear waves will stir

shadows that might look familiar, but do not

reach for them when the never-landing petrels

come to shore scratching mollusks out of their shells

and forcing their wings inside to hide in the funneling spirals.

Don’t come to small fishing towns and expect to find

what you expect to find. Chances are it will be there,

in tangles of seaweed that seem to wrap

around your legs just a little too purposefully,

or beneath sand that won’t settle, asking you warmly

to allow yourself to keep on sinking, to just stop

pedaling your feet. If you can’t say you won’t listen,

this is danger. Do not rush, though, to your longboat

where the sea waits fleshy and open-mouthed. Remain

on land until the petrels, now swirl-tailed, leave

their warbling shells beside the shriveled-naked,

and the red tide shrinks back, when you’re certain

the gulls have only buried their heads in their necks.